Archive for November 8th, 2004

Fallujah Update

2

As
we write brave American boys and girls are sweeping through the deadly,
darkened streets of Fallujah, looking for nests of vipers, trying to avoid
booby traps and ambushes. So far, they are executing their carefully conceived
battle plans flawlessly, meeting minimal resistance and suffering zero
casualties.

It is starting to look like the battle for Fallujah, despite the tremendous
PR buildup on the part of the administration and the muscular posturing
of the talking heads on CNN and FOX, is going to be neither pivotal not particularly
bloody. We can’t say we are surprised.

As much as George Bush and the American military establishment would like
to make it so, this war on terrorism is not a conventional war of conventional
attacks and sieges and frontal assaults and house-to-house urban combat.  That
is so WWII, fighting door to door in scenic French villages with adoring
local peasants and bombed out villas with intact wine cellars as scenery.  Not
gonna happen in Iraq.

The enemy in this war is an elusive wisp of deadly human vaporware, appearing
harmless, even helpful one minutes, dealing death without conscience the
next, and melting into the faceless crowd or disappearing from the scene
the minute after that, only to reappear miles away days later to start
the deadly cycle again.

As we saw in agonizing slow motion during the military buildup outside
Iraq in 2003, putting together an invasion or even a decent assault in
this day and age involves weeks of very obvious buildup and preparation.  Plenty
of time for the enemy to slip away, scurry out the drains and alleys and
melt into the masses of ordinary Iraqis. Sort of like a flash mob.

American military intelligence now feels that the Most Wanted Man in Iraq,
Abu Musab Zarqawi got out of town over a week ago.  Whereabouts: unknown.
Propensity to keep beheading Americans: high. In addition, current thinking
is that of the perhaps 3,000 true terrorists in the city, the far majority
have already quietly slipped out, including all of the planning and decision-making
apparatus and the most fanatical and deadly foreign jihadistas. 

Left
behind to face the awesome blitzkrieg of the American assault? A ragtag but
game skeleton crew of Iraqi’s, mostly boys and old men who can put up token
resistance, set off the remote controlled booby traps and bombs, and then
fade away into the civilian population. We are not likely to find many
of Iraq’s
Most
Wanted
in Fallujah.

Say what you may about the enemy, they aren’t stupid. They also aren’t
suicidal, except under stress or in situations highly leveraged to their
advantage.  Going up against the force the US has encircling Fallujah
with anything less than the X-Men or a suitcase nuke would be suicide, on
the order of a single unarmed protester standing ramrod straight in front
of a column of Chinese tanks, or teenaged protesters flinging rocks at Israelis
with their fingers on the triggers of .50 Caliber machine guns (what tragic
but magnificent madness!). Unfortunately, we can’t count on these killers
making the grand gesture.

What they will do is slip away to to bomb again another day. Feint and
Jab, harass and disappear, shoot from the woods and run like hell.  These
have been the favored tactics of insurgents and rebels since long before
the
Minutemen ran
the Redcoats out of Lexington and Concord. How can an organized and massive
military machine strike at an enemy that isn’t there?

Meanwhile, we will bust in, guns blazing, and blow away homes and businesses and hundreds of innocent civilians. Even the insurgents left behind, old men and kids, will be passed off as “civilian casualties” if they get killed. The right-wing press will hail it as a heroic victory; the left-wing press and the rest of the world will vilify us for the death and destruction in the smoking ruins of Fallujah. And the real bad guys will have gotten away again, just like Osama in Afganistan. It’s a lose-lose situation.

This is nothing new.  Since 9/11 our enemy is practicing a combination
of Zen "Fighting Without Fighting" and the same "get your enemy to spend
themselves to death" strategy that bankrupt the Soviets and won us the
cold war.  Only, unlike the cold war, through the application of the
principle of "Asymmetrical
Warfare
" they are spending thousands and forcing
us to
respond
by spending
BILLIONS.

Bin Laden said as much in his recently released statement in which he
vowed to "bankrupt the Crusaders." Every time Al Queda makes a phone call
or posts a video we reply by scaring the bejesus out of the population
and spending another few billion in useless but politically propitious
palatives.

Who can argue that during the past four years we have not tied ourselves
in knots,
eroded
the
freedoms
which
make
us
what we are, spent ourselves into a tremendous hole, and suffered deep
divisions and harmful hatreds at home?

So don’t expect any momentous "turning point" in Fallujah. We will win
the battle of Fallujah, but not the victory we seek. The monster will live
on, the head to find a new fertile roost and grow a hundred new tentacles
and pestilent, poisonous boils ready to burst over our best intentions.
This war will not be won by conventional fighters using conventional weapons.

There are only two ways to eradicate these scum. Either the Nuclear
Option
or the "American
Ninjas
".We can’t just walk away from all that oil now, can we?